I spent four wonderful summers celebrating the Fourth of July at the Pines on Fire Island, in New York. Michael and I would share a house with some of our closest friends and spend a week on that little oasis. There was only one grocery store near us, and one evening, I ended up with a bunch of scallops but no lemon or lime juice with which to flavor them. Thankfully, sumac came to my rescue and no one noticed the absence of fresh citrus at dinner. Serve these scallops hot over my Apple and Pear Mostarda.
Apple and Pear Mostarda
Italian mostardas are like spiced preserves. They live at the intersection between sweet and sour and are traditionally prepared by cooking fruit with mustard seeds. In this apple and pear version, I add dried juniper berries and a dash of verjus blanc to the mustard and fruit.
makes 2 cups [510 g]
1 large Bartlett pear (8½ oz [240 g])
2 large Honeycrisp apples (8 oz [225 g] each)
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1 Tbsp dried juniper berries
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp food-grade mustard oil or extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup [60 ml] verjus blanc (white verjus)
Peel and core the pear and apples, and cut them into ¼ in [6 mm] dice. Combine the fruit with the remaining ingredients in a medium nonreactive saucepan, such as stainless steel. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft and most of the liquid has evaporated, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Ghee is one of the most popular fats used in Indian cooking. It is a form of clarified butter, from which the milk solids and water are removed. Because the milk solids and sugars are caramelized in the fat before their removal, they give the ghee a nutty fragrance. Ghee can last for months if stored correctly, because the water, sugar, and proteins are all removed.
makes approximately 1¼ cups [250 g]
1 lb [455 g] unsalted butter, cubed
Line a strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and place over a clean, dry 1 pt [480 ml] jar with a tight-fitting lid to hold the finished ghee. Set aside.
In a heavy, medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter, stirring occasionally with a large metal spoon. As the butter starts to melt, skim off and discard any foam that rises to the surface. Cook until all the water in the butter boils off, and the fat stops sizzling and turns a deep golden yellow. The milk solids at the bottom of the saucepan will be reddish brown. The entire process should take 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and carefully pour the liquid through the cheesecloth-lined strainer into the jar. Seal the jar and store the ghee in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months, or indefinitely in the refrigerator.
— Nik Sharma
Reprinted from Season by Nik Sharma with permission by Chronicle Books, 2018.